Thursday, December 24, 2009

Entertainment: Avatar is Good

I don't know what all the resistance to Avatar has been. The movie is on record as being the most expensive ever filmed thus far - estimates ranging from $237 to $460 Million, but what else would you expect from James Cameron? Cameron, who is known for creating the Terminator franchise, directing the second Alien film - simply titled Aliens, and also the massive blockbuster Titanic, should be given credit for producing groundbreaking special effects films that do not sacrifice story and character development.

Avatar is spectacular, and is best experienced in IMAX 3D. George Lucas's special effects house Industrial Light and Magic (ILM) worked on this, and has definitely taken computer generated imagery to the next level. The flora and fauna of the alien world of Pandora literally jump out at you in brilliant and luscious color, excitement and wonder. The story, though at first glance painfully derivative, takes some interesting twists, gives us a solid message about our present and future, and actually allows the audience to invest in the characters as the 2 hour and 47 minute journey unfolds. It is indeed a tale indicative of Joseph Campbell's Hero's Journey, as the main character evolves to stand for something by the end of the film.

Avatar's domestic opening weekend, however was not so spectacular - according to some sources, who compared Avatar's opening weekend numbers to those of New Moon (which made twice as much at $142 million). Bad weather and budget are the apparent culprits, but Avatar has moved on to more than make up for a slow weekend having already made $329 Million worldwide -making back most if not all of its colossal budget.

Indeed, one of the first people that ho-hummed the film was a good friend of mine that figured he'd just see it on DVD. Somewhere along the line, he changed his mind and was waiting in line with us on opening weekend Sunday. The line for the 7:30PM showing for Avatar at the Tampa, FL AMC Veterans 24 theaters was long - people were already there for an hour by the time we showed up, which was an hour before the show. By the end of the film, my friend was glad he came with us to see the film - this was something different, not necessarily new, but a fresh take on what's come before. I raved about the movie at work, and with other friends, and there's a lot of ho-hum out there.

I suspect a lot of that ho-hum is dying down, and the still-ho-hummers will re-nig their ho-humming once they go see what all the hoopla is about.

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